Rafael Nadal paid a New Year's Day visit to the Abu Dhabi Destination Village
The "King of Clay", who is training in the Emirate ahead of the Australian Open later this month, swapped one surface for another as he stepped onboard the red Volvo Ocean 65, which will sail nearly 40,000 nautical miles over the nine-month race.
And stand-in skipper Xabi Fern?ndez (ESP) gave the current world number three, who has 14 Grand Slams under his belt, a crash course in just what it takes to be an elite offshore sailor, showing him around the deck and the galley of the boat.
The tour even included a nav-station weather and route briefing with Jean-Luc N™lias (FRA), MAPFRE√s navigator, who won this race last edition onboard Groupama.
The Spanish team, whose regular skipper, Iker Martvnez, will miss the next leg due to Olympic commitments, will be hoping to give Rafa something to cheer on Friday (January, 2nd - tomorrow), as they take part in the Abu Dhabi in-port race at 1000 UTC (1400 local time).
And then the following day, Saturday 3 at 1000 UTC, they will embark upon the 4,670 nautical-mile sail to China.
Marie LaurensVolvo Ocean Race News Distribution ManagerSpainmlaurens@sunsetvineapp.com+34668103908